News from our Faculty, Students, and Alumni

Congratulations to our Graduating Seniors
June, 2020

We asked each of our seniors what music study has meant to them, and here are some of their replies. We hope that music will continue to be a source of joy that lasts a lifetime.

Nate Brown (music theory): "Studying music is valuable to me for many reasons. However, one in particular is its ability to convey a story, beauty, and emotion without words. It is truly amazing to be apart of an art that is so universally calibrated despite the barrier of language. I had the opportunity to travel with my orchestra to the Czech Republic and perform in Dvořák hall. Even though none of us spoke a word of Czech, we were still able to connect, convey, and communicate through music! It was truly incredible to see the power of music."

Rahel Burchardt (piano): "Studying piano provided me with a means of artistic and musical expression. A big thank you to WCMS and my wonderful teachers, Heather Bissell and Laura Ziegler!"

Louis Burns (violin, music theory): "When I reflect on my musical journey thus far, I don't think about all the hours that I've practiced alone in my room. I think about all the hours I've spent laughing in rehearsals, performing (the good and the bad), collaborating, and bringing a little more joy and beauty into the world."

Cynthia Chang (clarinet): "Music to me is a form of expression; my sometimes messy emotions can be released in the form of powerful, sweeping passages, whether while sitting at the piano or with my clarinet in hand. Music is also an avenue for improvement, as hours of meticulous practice eventually give meaning to notes and markings on a page."

Michael Guo (piano): "My time with the piano is a time that is not interrupted by outside sources, when I can forget about the rest of the day."

Katie Huang (piano): "Playing piano at WCMS for almost 10 years has been a wonderful, unforgettable experience! Thanks to everyone at the WCMS community!"

Maeve Kydd (flute, chamber ensembles): "Music has been a constant in my life since I was young, providing me with an ability to slow down or pause, remove all other distractions and disconnect from our busy lives."

Aidan Molloy (cello, String Sinfonietta): "Music means relaxation and enjoyment."

Amogh Morje (flute): "Studying music has taught me how to carry myself in anything I do, from sports to academics. But most importantly, it has led to me meeting some of my closest friends and having some of the best experiences of my life thus far, something for which I'll be forever grateful."

Sasha Pilipchuk (piano): "Studying music has given me the opportunity to express myself, and show others the beauty of playing the piano. Additionally, music studies have allowed me to share my passion with other people who are interested in hearing classical piano music in places such as outreach concerts or other family members."

Nick Sorger (viola, percussion): "I have studied viola at WCMS since I was eight years old and I also studied percussion for one year. Music has always been a way for me to relax and reset after a long day of school work or other activities. Studying viola and the history of music with my teacher, Alex Vavilov, has been incredibly rewarding. I have also enjoyed being part of the community of musicians in the WHS orchestra and symphony."

Will Sorger (voice, piano, cello): "I have studied a variety of music at WCMS, including piano, cello, and voice. I have always loved music and through the tutelage of Mrs. Wilson, Pamela Ambrose, Nick Upton, Norina Rowen, and Melissa Glaister I have been able to explore that passion across eleven years. I focused on singing in high school, and my lessons at WCMS gave me more confidence not only in my individual singing, but also in how I present myself to other people. I think we are lucky to have WCMS in our community!"

Zach Watson (piano, clarinet, music theory): "Studying music has had a huge positive impact on my life. Aside from the enjoyment I get out of playing and listening to music, it has given me a purpose and a goal to work toward. It has also been a way to discover more about myself, and communicate to others in ways that go beyond words."

Congratulations to Recipients of WCMS Faculty Professional Development Grants
November 2019

WCMS announces this year's recipients of its professional development grants for faculty. The grants are awarded for special projects, education, and equipment. Four faculty members were awarded grants for the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Heather Bissell - travel grant to present at a piano master course in Hungary
  • Jonathan Fagan - travel grant to present at an international jazz festival in Panama
  • Monika Gibbons - Neurological music therapy training and certification
  • Yoshiko Kline - Suzuki piano book 4 training and certification

Four Star Review for Tim Gartland's new album
April 2019

Congratulations to harmonica faculty member Tim Gartland on his new album, Satisfied, and the great review it recently received from DownBeat! Tim is busy making his mark on the Nashville music scene, but he spent many years in the Boston area and still offers lessons for WCMS students via Skype. Contact our registrar to learn about lessons with Tim.

Congratulations to our MMEA Junior District and All-State participants!
March 2019

Bravo to the WCMS students who auditioned and were accepted for this year's MMEA Northeastern District Junior Festival and All-State Festival:

  • Amogh Morje (flute student of Jessica Lizak) was accepted to the All-State Festival
  • Van Teager (bass student of Mark Pucci) won jazz chair and 2nd chair in orchestra, Junior District
  • Anna Li (flute student of Jessica Lizak) won principal flute in Junior District band
  • Jasmine Sun (French horn student of John Michael Adair) was accepted to Junior District
  • Caroline Jiang (flute student of Jessica Lizak) was accepted to Junior District band
  • Charles Benjamin (oboe student of Kyoko Hida-Battaglia) was accepted to Junior District orchestra

Congratulations to piano student Alex Boskovic, participant in the Crescendo International Music Competition
January 2019

WCMS piano faculty member Eiko Ishizuka shared the great news that her student, Alex Boskovic, won second place in the first round of auditions for the Crescendo International Music Competition, and moved on to the next round at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Bravo Alex!

Congratuations to our MMEA Senior District Participants
December 2018

We received word from three of our faculty members about students who were accepted for the Senior MMEA Festival. Congratulations to all!

  • Percussion faculty member Sylvie Zakarian reported that her students Nadeem Baba and Christopher Walsh were both selected to perform with the Senior District Percussion Ensemble.
  • Violin faculty member Alex Vavilov reported that his student Jonathan Tsao was selected to perform in the Senior District Festival.
  • Flute faculty member Jessica Lizak announced that her students Aria Bower and Amogh Morje were both selected to participate in the Senior District Festival and also to audition for the All-State Festival.

Congratulations to Recipients of WCMS Faculty Professional Development Grants
November 2018

For the fourth consecutive year, WCMS has awarded professional development grants to its faculty for special projects, professional development seminars, and other initiatives that advance their education and training. Congratulations to the following 2018-2019 recipients:

  • Monika Gibbons (music therapy faculty): Tuition assistance for music therapy continuing education course work.
  • Eiko Ishizuka (piano and Dalcroze eurhythmics faculty): Promotion and marketing assistance for the recently completed CD project, "Oeuvres pour Piano à 4 Mains." Produced in collaboration with piano faculty member Yoshiko Kline, the CD features the four-hand piano music of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze.
  • Yun Lee (piano faculty): The Rebecca Clarke Project in collaboration with viola faculty member Noralee Walker. This project will include a concert and recording of Clarke's Sonata for Viola and Piano in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the piece in 2019.

Congratulations to flute students Aria Bower and Caroline Jiang
August 2018

We recently received this news from flute teacher Jessica Lizak: "Aria Bower just returned from attending the Summer Youth Music School Camp at UNH where she won the prestigious 'Best Camper Award.' She was chosen unanimously by the faculty due to her inspiring musicality and personality. This entitles her to a full scholarship to attend the camp again next summer. Also, Aria Bower and Caroline Jiang participated in and successfully performed as soloists in this summer's Boston Floot Fire flute intensive workshop. Congratulations to them both!"

Congratulations to Camille Hodgkins, nominated for an MET Musical Award
June 2017

Congratulations to WCMS student Camille Hodgkins, who has been nominated for Best Leading Actress in this year's MET Musical Awards for her starring role in Tarzan. Camille has also been a winner in our annual vocal competition, The Vocal Factor, for two years in a row. Brava, Camille!

Recent Reviews of Tim Gartland's New Album
January 2017

Congratulations to faculty member Tim Gartland on the release of his third album, If You Want a Good Woman, which was reviewed in December by blues blogger Bill Wilson and in January by Elmore Magazine. You can check out the album on CD Baby.

2016 Faculty Development Grants
November 2016

WCMS announces the recipients of its 2016 professional development grants for faculty. Grants are awarded for special projects, education, and equipment. Kaeza Fearn's recording Inner Equinox is one of the projects made possible by a grant last year. Click here to read about this year's recipients.

Glenn Dickson's New Album Reviewed on NPR's Fresh Air
June 2016

Congratulations to faculty member Glenn Dickson on the release of his new album, Blood, with the klezmer-fusion band Naftule's Dream. Click here to listen online or to read the transcript of the review by Milo Miles, Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic.

Faculty Development Grants Announced
March 2016

WCMS is pleased to announce the recipients of our newest round of faculty development grants: Glenn Dickson, Kaeza Fearn, Tad Hitchcock, Marina Krickler, and Valerie Walton. The $5,000 fund was made possible this academic year by an anonymous donor. The grants can support special projects, including recordings or publishing; touring; purchasing instruments or materials; professional development seminars; or other initiatives that further the professional development of faculty or advance their education and training of WCMS students. To read more about this year's recipients and their grants, click here

Congratulations to our MMEA Junior District, All-State, and Treble Chorus participants!
February 2016

We're very happy to congratulate our students accepted to the MMEA All-State Festival:

  • Emilia Lew, flute – student of Jessica Lizak
  • Sam Ran Lee, French horn – student of Marina Krickler
  • Joy Zhang, oboe – student of Kyoko Hida

We're also so proud of the following WCMS students who were accepted to the MMEA Junior District Festival:

  • Shaina Fusco, oboe – student of Kyoko Hida
  • George Gilmer, double bass – student of Mark Pucci
  • Iris Mcallister, trombone – student of Mark Rohr
  • Garen Meguerditchian, mallet percussion and timpani – student of Sylvie Zakarian
  • Amogh Morje, flute – student of Jessica Lizak
  • Liv Oster, oboe – student of Kyoko Hida
  • Elizabeth Sharon, trumpet – student of Jeanne Snodgrass
  • Casey Waldman, chorus – student of Norina Rowen and Heather Bissell
  • Mona Wang, viola – student of Alex Vavilov

Plus, a special shout-out to Mackenzie Morong, student of Norina Rowen, who was selected to perform with the All-State Treble Chorus. Great job, everyone!

Yoshiko Kline CD Release
January 2016
WCMS is pleased to announce the release of the new CD "Jon Meets Yoshiko," introducing new compositions by Jon Appleton performed by WCMS piano faculty member Yoshiko Kline.   

MMEA All-State Treble Chorus
January 2016
Congratulations to Mackenzie Morong, student of Norina Rowen, for being accepted into the All-State Treble Chorus in the first year her school let 5th graders audition!

Congratulations, Senior District Musicians!
January 2016
The following WCMS students auditioned and were accepted for the MMEA Festival, with some being invited for All-State auditions:

  • Elizabeth Andrews, oboe - student of Kyoko Hida-Battaglia
  • Aria Bower, choir - flute student of Jessica Lizak
  • Cristina Hain, mallet percussion - student of Sylvie Zakarian
  • Sam Ran Lee, French horn - student of Marina Krickler - All-State Recommendation
  • Emilia Lew, flute - student of Jessica Lizak - All-State Recommendation
  • Moriah Lichtenstein, flute - student of Meghan Jacoby
  • Grant MacDonald, choir - piano student of Heather Bissell
  • Varahunan Mathiyalakan,vibraphone - student of Sylvie Zakarian - All-State Recommendation
  • Connor Shank, choir - piano student of Heather Bissell
  • Victor Sintchak, mallet percussion - student of Sylvie Zakarian - All-State Recommendation
  • Joy Zhang, oboe - student of Kyoko Hida-Battaglia - All-State Recommendation

Summer Honors - Congratulations!
May 2015

Cellist Lukas Goodman was accepted to the prestigious Eastern Music Festival and received a merit scholarship as well. Lukas will play in the orchestra with renowned cellist and visiting artist Lynn Harrell.

Percussionist Victor Sintchak was accepted to the internationally recognized Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) this summer, where he will train under the guidance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Faculty Member Tim Gartland Releases Fourth Edition of The Talking Harmonica: Harmonica as a Second Language
May 2015
This highly-acclaimed book, now in its fourth edition, is a wonderful resource from noted blues harmonica player Tim Gartland. A longtime faculty member at WCMS, Tim will be moving to Nashville soon to continue his music career, but will continue to offer lessons via Skype. Please contact us if you would like to learn harmonica from a Nashville musician!

Massachusetts Music Teachers Association (MMTA) Musical Achievement Evaluations (MAE)
May 2015
Congratulations to these students from Dana Dalton's piano studio, who earned MAE certficates in the 2014-2015 school year:
Emily Dovale
Neal Krishna
Ryan Krishna
We also congratulate Neal Krishna on his participation in the Massachusetts State Piano Competition at Brandeis University!

Student Spotlight: Victoria Hain
April 2015
Ranking as lead percussionist in two regional orchestras is just one of high school senior Victoria Hain's many accomplishments as she prepares to graduate and looks to the future. Click here to read Victoria's story.

Celebrating Our Honors Students
March 2015
Congratulations to our Voice Honors group and our Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion Honors group, who both had recitals in March.

Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion – representing the studios of Glenn Dickson, Kyoko Hida, Marina Krickler, Jessica Lizak, Jeanne Snodgrass, Valerie Walton, and Sylvie Zakarian:

Lali Albrecht
Henry Knoll-Finn
Garen Meguerditchian

Elizabeth Andrews

Emilia Lew
Stella Wang

Dylan Han
Varahunan Mathiyalakan
marimba & timpani
Joy Zhang

Voice Honors - representing the studio of Norina Rowen:

Dylan Baxter-King
Margaret Ehrenthal
Anelga Hajjar

Hilary Cameron
Frances Garrett
Camille Vitale

Celebrating a Fabulous Night of Music at M. Steinert & Sons
March 2015 
Question: What do you get when you put two Steinway grand pianos and several WCMS piano students together at M. Steinert & Son’s in Boston? Answer: An enchanting evening of two-piano and four-hand piano music. Thank you to everyone who participated in this wonderful event.

Maggie Barrett Rebecca Lee Sarita Padukone Emma Wickline
Gabriel Guo Sarine Meguerditchian Philip Satterthwaite Andi Zhao
Justin Kim Keira Mitchell Philip Vukovic Chloe Zhao
Lulu Lee Erica Nguyen Ellen Welter

Congratulations to our MMEA Festival Participants
March 2015
Every year our most accomplished young classical musicians audition for the honor of playing in the Junior and Senior Northeast District Festivals, representing the best in the region in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) orchestra, band, and chorus. We're so proud of the hard work of all the WCMS students who competed this year, and we are pleased to present our honored students:

Grant Andrews, tenor saxophone
Ayaz Chipty Franz, bass clarinet
Morgan Daciuk, cello
Lukas Goodman, cello, All-State
Victoria Hain, mallet percussion, All-State
Dylan Han, clarinet
Emma Hodgedon, cello
Henry Knoll-Finn, trumpet
Emilia Lew, flute, All-State
Grant MacDonald, choir
Khalid Mahmood
, clarinet
Varahunan Mathiyalakan, mallet percussion
Iris McAllister, trombone
Garen Meguerditchian, mallet percussion
Connor Shank, choir
James Sheehy, clarinet
Stella Wang, flute
Joy Zhang, oboe

Congratulations as well to the WCMS faculty whose studios are represented above:
Anne Bennett, cello
Heather Bissell, piano
Glenn Dickson, clarinet
Kyoko Hida, oboe
Jessica Lizak, flute
Mark Rohr, trombone
Jeanne Snodgrass, trumpet
Valerie Walton, saxophone
Sylvie Zakarian, percussion

Repertory Group Honors Dr. Vartan Aghababian
November 2014
For its 2014-2015 season, the repertory group CMASH is presenting a series of concerts marking the fiftieth birthday of Dr. Vartan Aghababian, a founding core collaborator of CMASH. Music composed by Aghababian is being performed in San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, Austin, Philadelphia, and Lincoln, MA. Ann Moss, Artistic Director of CMASH, says "I see no better way to celebrate this special year than by sharing his gorgeous music with audiences around the country." See more info here.

Congratulations to WCMS Alum Wesley Han
September 2014
Congratulations to Wesley Han, who is a freshman at Swarthmore this year and has been named first chair cello in the orchestra. For private lessons, the college has brought in a cellist from the Philadelphia Orchestra to instruct Wesley. In addition, Wesley is majoring in theater and landed the leading role in Guys and Dolls! What an amazing first month of college!

Many thanks to our summer intern Sophie Sparrow
July 2014
Sophie Sparrow will take her place as a first soprano with the prestigious St. Olaf Choir this fall as she returns for her sophomore year at St. Olaf's. Sophie is a longtime WCMS student and beloved summer intern at the school, who studied voice as well as saxophone and cello at various times for more than 10 years. Like many of our students, she began her musical education in Music & Movement class with Yukiko Shimazaki.

Piano faculty member John Kramer performs in France
April 2014
Congratulations to WCMS piano faculty member John Kramer for his performance this month at the Claude Debussy Museum in Saint-Germain, France. The theme of the concert was "An American in Paris" and included two pieces by Debussy—L'Isle joyeuse and Golliwogg's Cakewalk—as well as The Dream Rags by American composer William Albright, original works by Kramer, and jazz standards. A preview concert was also held at WCMS.

Voice students selected for Lexington High School choral groups
April 2014
Four of Norina Rowen's private voice students from Lexington have successfully auditioned for elite choral groups at Lexington High. Congratulations to Hilary Cameron and Lauren Sacco, Women's Chorus, Maya Fejzo-Pearlman, Madrigal Singers and Dylan Baxter-King, Concert Choir.

Music recorded at WCMS for Lowell General Hospital video
April 2014
This past winter, a community chorus called "Voices of Hope" recorded music at WCMS to be featured in a video to promote Lowell General Hospital's "TeamWalk for CancerCare." The chorus was founded by Winchester resident Greg Chastain. Our recording & production faculty member, Matt Pendergast, worked with Voices of Hope on a Saturday afternoon here in our recording studio. He then delivered the edited music file to the video production company that worked with Lowell General Hospital to produce the video.

Voice Works Students Perform in "Aladdin"
April 2014
Brava to Voice Works I and II members Jane Burke, Elena Dickison, Maria McIntyre, Shreya Nair, and Sophie Friedl and private Voice student Maire Claire Dubard for their excellent performances in the recent Winchester Cooperative Theatre production of "Aladdin." The girls are all students of Norina Rowen, Voice Department Chair.

Celebrating Our Honors Students
April 2014
Congratulations to our Piano Honors group and Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion Honors group, who both had recitals in April.

Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion – representing the studios of Vartan Aghababian, Kyoko Hida, Meghan Jacoby, Peter Kenagy, Jessica Lizak, Jeanne Snodgrass, Valerie Walton, and Sylvie Zakarian:

Lali Albrecht
tenor saxophone
Victoria Hain
Tobi Omola
Will Skinner
Elizabeth Andrews

Emilia Lew
Victor Sintchak
Rebecca Ye
Christina Hain

Moriah Lichtenstein
Katie Skinner
tenor saxophone
Joy Zhang

Piano - representing the studios of Heather Bissell, Dana Dalton, Jorge Ibanez, Eiko Ishizuka, Jinie Kim-Han, Yun Lee, Ruth Shyu, and Olga Talroze:

Vishni Arulanandam
junior honors
Sophia Gaufberg
junior honors
Neal Krishna
junior honors
Erica Nguyen
senior honors
Maggie Barrett
senior honors
Camille Hodgkins
junior honors
Rebecca Lee
senior honors
Brendan Pulsifer
senior honors
Aleksander Boskovic
junior honors
Jonathan Kim
junior honors
Grant MacDonald
junior honors
Ellen Welter
senior honors
Tabitha Chen-Fiske
junior honors
Joshua Kim
junior honors
Sarine Meguerditchian
junior honors

What a Show! Kudos to Winchester High School "Little Me" Performers

March 2014
Congratulations to Sarah Warrick, voice student of Norina Rowen, for her starring role in the WHS musical "Little Me," as well as cast members Thomas Mangen (former voice student of Norina Rowen) and Kiki Albanese (former voice student of Melissa Glaister). In total, there were 49 current and former WCMS students who were members of the cast, chorus, orchestra, set crew, and tech crew. Congratulations to all who made this show a rousing success!

Marimba presentation by percussion student Victoria Hain
March 2014
Students at Vinson-Owen Elementary School recently enjoyed a marimba presentation by WCMS Honors Percussion student Victoria Hain as the final step in Victoria's pursuit of the Girl Scout Gold Award. Congratulations on this honor and all your hard work, Victoria!

Congratulations to voice student Nora Tirrell
March 2014
Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Nora Tirrell, private student of Voice Teacher and Department Chair, Norina Rowen. Nora has been accepted as a Performance Major at Berklee College of Music.